WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — A Winston-Salem mother has issued a warning to the man who attacked her.
“I want to let [you] know that [you] picked the wrong one,” said Starla Osborne on her front porch Tuesday afternoon.
In her hands was a fresh mug of coffee that was still steaming from the rim of the cup.
“I just hurt all over,” she told FOX8.
She shifted as she sat down to take the weight off of her right foot, which was tightly wrapped in bandages.
“I just don’t understand,” Osborne sobbed. “I’m good to everybody.”
Osborne had every right to feel this way.
Osborne was attacked Saturday while walking out of the Burlington Coat Factory on North Point Boulevard.
Around 6 p.m., she had pulled in the parking lot to do her usual shopping.
Osborne explained that she saw a suspicious man in the parking lot, so she decided to pull her van in one of the available spots in front of the store.
“I just had a gut feeling,” Osborne said.
Her eyes then began to tear up as she recalled what happened next.
“I went into the store … then I seen him inside the store,” Osborne said. “They say always go with your gut. I don’t know what my gut was telling me, I just knew something wasn’t right.”
Osborne said she quickly walked out of the store to her van. She began to fumble with her keys to unlock her doors as quickly as possible.
Once the door was unlocked, she jumped inside and threw her bag of newly bought clothes on the floorboard beside her.
She saw him when she went to shut the door.
“I’m just staring face-to-face with that man I saw… There he was … with his nasty body,” Osborne said.
He began to push himself on top of her in an attempt to get inside the vehicle.
“He just kept yelling something about ‘The Aryan Brotherhood,’ but I don’t know what he was talking about,” Osborne said.
She paused before she continued to explain how he then pushed her up against the steering wheel.
“I just remember trying to honk the horn,” Osborne said.
She remembered how groups of people passed by the scene. Some even rolled down their windows to watch. But no one stopped to help.
“I’m yelling ‘call 911, just help me, you see me struggling,'” Osborne said. “I’m sitting here in my car yelling for help, but not one person did anything.”
For seven minutes, the two of them battled it out inside the van. Osborne said she began to punch the man in the face repeatedly. She said he then started to bite her.
“I pulled the car keys out three times then he bit me again in the exact same spots,” she said.
Osborne pulled up her sleeves to show off the massive bruises just above her elbow. She then turned her neck around and showed off the bruises around her throat.
“He just began to choke me. I couldn’t breathe,” Osborne said.
She was able to rip the man’s shirt before she was fully on the ground beside her van.
The man, who had realized this was not as easy as he thought, drove off. Osborne was dragged through the parking lot before she was eventually free.
“At that point is when people started to come and help me,” Osborne said.
Winston-Salem police were notified and spotted Osborne’s stolen van within minutes. They chased the man for several miles before he crashed the vehicle and ran off.
Police have still not found him.
“I hope they do,” Osborne said as she looked up at her boyfriend Kenneth, who had just walked out on the front porch.
She said she no longer feels safe to leave her house alone or when it gets dark. The fear that it will happen again has overwhelmed her.
When asked, Osborne said she could recognize the man’s face.
She explained how he was a white male with a buzz-cut style hair, around 5’7″, a medium-build and a pointy reddish-blonde beard.
“I want to look him in the eye. I want him to know,” Osborne said.
Winston-Salem police are investigating and are following up on leads.
Officers ask anyone with any information to call the Winston-Salem Police Department at (336) 773-7700 or Crime Stoppers at (336) 727-2800.